St. Louis de Montfort was a devoted Dominican Tertiary who was an extraordinary preacher of the Rosary and prophecied many things about Mary's role in our times and of the Second Coming in which he predicted Mary would have a special role saying: "In the Second Coming of the Lord, Mary will be made known in a special way by the Holy Spirit so that through her, Jesus may be better known and served...Mary will shine forth higher than ever in these latter days to bring back poor sinners who have strayed from the Family of God." Well before Fatima, he prophecied that Mary's Heart would triumph and of her role as Co-Redemptrix, Advocate and Mediatrix of all graces. Pope John Paul II has called de Montfort "one of the great doctors of Marian Spirituality." This saint, totally devoted to Mary, founded the Congregations of the Missionaries of the Company of Mary (the Montfort Fathers) and the Daughters of Wisdom, an order of nuns devoted to Our Lady and the Holy Spirit. Born during the reign of Pope Clement X in 1673, St. Louis de Montfort died peacefully in 1716 during the papacy of Pope Clement XI.
Everything you have seen and heard upon this Holy Mountain is true.
Later, praying in thanksgiving for all the blessings of this day, Jesus said to me again:
Tell the bishop that it was truly My Mother who came to the Holy Mountain. Tell him to be not afraid. My Mother will come again, but not before the remaining children have come home to Me. Then shall the flower blossom forth. Fear not. I am with you, and I bless you with great love. Remember, I am sending My Mother back to you.
I, your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ have brought you to this holy place in this land so that you might receive special graces from the Holy Spirit.
Please say to all the world: Time is so short and I plead with you to seek My Mercy, for it will be your shield before My Father's Justice.
O! I love all of My children. I suffered and died for love of each of you, and I would do so again to convert your hearts if the Eternal Father allowed it. But I am the Eternal Word, the Son of God, Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, and by My Passion and Death justice was satisfied.
The world does not understand that My Cross stands as the shield of Mercy between mankind and the Triune Divinity.
In these end times My Most Sacred Heart wishes to pour out all Mercy upon all of My children. I am unable to pour out My Mercy because man's cold heart rejects Me. They reject My Mother whom I have sent to prepare you.
Once again I tell you: The Hour of Mercy must come before the Great Justice. But the degree of Mercy given will come from man's good will to seek, plead, and desire My Mercy with a humble, contrite heart.
My Most Precious Blood, the Font of Divine Mercy, shall not be poured out upon those who would blaspheme against It. It is the infinite, Divine Mercy that I offer. Please pray that you may accept Mercy and be clothed with It. Then shall you recognize all the signs I am giving, and you will be led by the Holy Spirit and My Mother along the right path.
I bless each of you. I tell you I love you. Receive My Peace. May Mercy be on your lips and in your heart.
In the presence of all the Heavenly court I choose thee this day for my Mother and Mistress. I deliver and consecrate to thee as thy slave, my body and soul, my goods, both interior and exterior, and even the value of all my good actions, past, present and future; leaving to thee the entire and full right of disposing of me, and all that belongs to me, without exception, according to thy good pleasure, for the greater glory of God, in time and in eternity. Amen.
This is the claim of Antonio Gaspari, author, journalist and expert on Vatican affairs for more than a decade.
"It's uncanny. Not a day goes by that the Pope doesn't speak out in some way against the use of violence in the conflict in Kosovo. For the past month, the L'Osservatore Romano [Vatican Newspaper] has carried heart-wrenching front page appeals to stop the carnage on both sides. And yet, not a word of all this seems to filter through to the international press."
Gaspari, who has just published a book on Pius XII and his defense of the Jews during WWII, highlighting the thousands of Jewish refugees hidden in convents and religious houses by explicit order of the Pope, says it is ironic that history seems to be repeating itself.
"Just as Pius XII was one of the few voices -- if not the only one -- who dared to plead for peace while all the belligerent nations, including their media, called for the heightened escalation of the war machine, today John Paul II is one of the few world leaders who has had the courage to proclaim that 'violence is not the solution,' that 'everything is gained by peace, nothing is gained by war.' "
Gaspari asks: "Where are all the correspondents now who flocked to Cuba to report on the Pope's trip to the island? The same ones who spoke about the importance that must be given to John Paul's opinion in world affairs. The Pope's calls for peace aren't politically correct. Since they don't like what the Pope is saying -- essentially, stop the bombing -- they simple ignore it. There is an 'unspoken veto' being exercised against any news that comes out of the Vatican about the Kosovo war. Now, how can you call that objective journalism?"
He points out that, while it's true that the media of several European countries such as Italy, Spain and France have given space to some of the Pope's interventions -- especially the trip of Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran to Belgrade -- it has usually been in a watered-down way and avoiding the more forceful statements against violence.
Especially in the English-speaking media, there has been a virtual blackout of the constant effort of the Vatican's call for peace and numerous efforts to mediate in the conflict.
"It's interesting to note that, during this same period, they have reported on canonizations and Holy Week ceremonies, but made no mention of the forceful pronouncements of the Pope against military intervention and in favor of dialogue."
All Aboard! The Pope is not the only one who has been ignored or criticized for not "toeing the line." In fact, even the BBC has had to energetically defend its World Affairs Editor, John Simpson, serving as war correspondent in Belgrade, of accusations from the British government of being partial to the Serbs or, at least simplistic in his reporting.
In particular, interviews by Simpson with Serb civilians who claimed that NATO bombings had actually strengthened their support for president Milosevic, recently came under attack by unidentified government sources, "The Times" reported.
The BBC was quick to respond. Richard Ayre, Deputy Chief Executive of BBC News, defended Simpson saying: "It is important that audiences in Britain are given a true account of the public mood in Belgrade, not simply an account of what the NATO governments might prefer to hear."
Simpson sustains that he was simply reporting the truth when he affirmed that the NATO bombings have done nothing more than unite previously unconcerned Serbs behind their president, Slobodan Milosevic, because of the rampant destruction and, in their view, unjustifiable, targeting of "civilian" targets throughout their nation.
"In this modern pluralistic society in which we live today," affirmed Gaspari, "everyone is entitled to form his own opinion about world affairs. But that's only possible if we, as journalists, tell all the sides of the story and not just what reigning 'public opinion,' -- or even less -- what our governments, want them to hear."
Like the disc jockey who was recently fired by a Christian radio station in California for playing the Pope's new CD "Abba Pater" because the words were in a foreign language -- Latin to be precise --, mainstream media also seems to have carried out a very effective boycott of John Paul II's constant pleas to stop the violence and seek peace through other means.
Commenting the reasons why the station justified his client's dismissal, the disc jockey's lawyer later told reporters: "They were worried about the content because they couldn't understand it. But it's the Pope!" It seems that they aren't the only ones who want to silence the Pope's voice. ZE99042520
During his homily at the ceremonies in St. Peter's Basilica, the Holy Father pointed out that-- as always-- the day dedicated to prayer for vocations coincided in the Church's liturgical calendar with the Gospel reading of the Good Shepherd. He said that the work begun on earth by Jesus "is prolonged across history by the work of new collaborators to whom he entrusts the care of his sheep." He stressed to the newly ordained priests that their ministerial vocation is "a great gift and a great mystery" insofar as it allows them to enter directly into Christ's ministry.
To prepare themselves for that ministry, the Pope continued, priests should immerse themselves in devotion to the Eucharist, "the source and summit of Christian life." Through that devotion, he said, "they will obtain the inspiration and strength for their daily ministry, the apostolic enthusiasm for the work of evangelization, and spiritual consolation in the inevitable moments of difficulty and interior struggle."
In his homily the Pope also alluded to the international retreat for priests, to be held in June in the Holy Land, under the auspices of the Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy. He voiced the hope that many priests, from many countries, would participate in the event.
The next day Pope John Paul II received Ariel Sharon, the Israeli foreign minister, at the Vatican on Monday, April 26.
Sharon carried an invitation from the Israeli government for the Holy Father to visit that land "soon." The Holy See has not issued a response to that invitation, although it is well known that Pope John Paul would like to visit the Holy Land. The Vatican's response may be contingent on political developments in Israel, and on progress in the Mideast peace talks.
During a busy visit to the Vatican-- which also included discussions with the Vatican's Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, and his chief deputies, Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran and Msgr. Celestino Migliore-- the Israeli official responded to questions about the recent disturbances in Nazareth, the status of Jerusalem, and the latest developments in the peace process.
Sharon had been scheduled to meet with the Holy Father several weeks earlier-- on February 15-- but the appointment had been postponed. At the time, some journalists saw the postponement as evidence of tension between the Holy See and the Israeli government. Sharon explained that the postponement was caused by his wife's illness.
O'Connor-- who has two children by two different fathers-- was given the name "Mother Bernadette Mary" during last Thursday's ordination ceremony at the Marian shrine of Lourdes in France.
The ceremony was carried out by Irish Bishop Michael Cox, a former policeman who was ordained a bishop of the schismatic sect based in Palmar de Troya in Spain. Bishop Cox recently formed the "Latin Tridentine Church" with dissident priest Father Pat Buckley. Buckley, who was suspended from the priesthood by the former head of the Irish Catholic Church, Cardinal Cahal Daly, was last year illicitly ordained as a bishop by Bishop Cox.
But the two bishops fell out over a gift of IR£150,000 by Sinead O'Connor to Bishop Cox. The pop star said she gave Bishop Cox the money to set up a "healing center" for travellers (gypsies) in the Irish midlands. She also offered to pay for a hernia operation for the bishop.
Bishop Buckley said the donation was "disturbing" and he would be very worried "if the money was attached in even the slightest way to the performance of a sacrament." He said he had no difficulty with the ordination of a woman, but he was concerned that O'Connor had been ordained after only six weeks of theological study.
O'Connor told Irish radio that she had already celebrated four Masses -- two in English and two in Latin. She said the Catholic Church should be grateful to her for using her priesthood to bring young people back to the Church. Bishop Cox said O'Connor would "bring massive numbers of people back to Christ through her music."
The miracle needed for the Pope's beatification took place in 1966, 33 years ago, when the Italian religious Caterina Capitani, superior mother of the Daughters of Charity (Sicily), was cured of peritonitis after receiving a relic of the Pope from her sisters of congregation.
The healing has been qualified by the medical commission as "instantaneous, perfect and lasting". Now, the facts will be verified by a theological commission and later by members of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The Holy Father will finally decide on the proposal, and, if approved, would issue the decree of beatification.
Another necessary requisite is the issuing of the decree declaring the heroic virtues of the Pope. This decree is expected to be issued in the coming months, after which the Pontiff would be called "Venerable", a step prior to beatification.